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Tree of Life Group Search

Search for Tree of Life branch or leaf pages for a particular group of organisms.

Group Name:
Find records that match search options help
Show only those matches for groups closest to the root of the Tree taxa closest to root help
Restrict search to group: restrict search to group help

Group Search Tips

The Group Search allows you to search the ToL names database. This database stores the valid scientific names as well as other names by which the group may be know, such as synonyms or common names. Scientific names will generally yield more reliable results, but many Tree of Life pages are now also indexed with the common names of the organisms.

The Group Search will not return all pages on which a given group is mentioned. Rather, it will find only the branch or leaf page that focuses on this particular group as well as the branch page that contains this group as a subgroup in the tree or taxon list. By doing a Text Search, you may find additional information in the text of ToL pages focusing on other groups. To find any and all information about a given group on the ToL site, use the general search field in the upper right corner of the page.

Searches are not case sensitive, so a search for Dinosauria is the same as a search for dinosauria. If your search does not come up with the groups you are looking for, you can try finding related groups by wandering up the branches of the Tree of Life starting either from one of the popular groups or from the root.

Here are a few examples of how the the different search options work:

Search option:   Search term:   Possible search results:

partially   dendro   Dendrobatidae and Actinodendron
exactly   actinodendron   Actinodendron but not Actinodendronidae
beginning of name   dendro   Dendrobatidae but not Actinodendron
end of name   dendron   Actinodendron but not Actinodendronidae

Names consisting of multiple words:

If more than one word is entered, the search will treat the text literally with spaces included, not as separate words. For example, searching for water frogs will return the following groups for the different search options:

Search option:   Possible search results:

partially   Western Palearctic water frogs but not Big purple water squirting frogs
exactly   Water frogs but not Western Palearctic water frogs
beginning of name   Water frogs of the Western Palearctic but not Western Palearctic water frogs
end of name   Western Palearctic water frogs but not Water frogs of the Western Palearctic

Groups closest to the root of the Tree

If you select this option, your search will retrieve only the major groups matching your search criteria; i. e., if your search matches a group AND one or several of the subgroups of this group, your search results will only contain the larger, more inclusive group, while the subgroups are omitted. For example, searching for insect without the closest to root option, will result in a list of taxa including:

However, turning on the closest to root option will reduce your search results to just Insectivora and Hexapoda, because the four other matching groups are contained within the Hexapoda. Thus, the closest to root option allows you to concentrate on the major groups matching your search criteria.

Restrict Search to Group

The restrict search to group option lets you concentrate your search on the subgroups of one particular group. For example, if you are looking you may be looking for a group of ants, and you remember that the name begins with lepto. Doing an unrestricted taxon search for names beginning with lepto would give you over 40 search results to wade through. However, restricting your search to the group "ants", will narrow your search down to only four options:

Tree of Life Search